As soon as I heard Cat Stevens or better known as Yusuf Islam is coming on tour to Malaysia to launch and promote his recent book “Why I Still Carry A Guitar”, I was excited. I asked around on how I can get in touch with him. From editor of Awani to Institute Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia (the organizer responsible to bringing him and promoting his book). I wanted to see him. The very least I could do is to say him Thank You.
Yusuf Islam, a Muslim family man who was awarded amongst others, the 2004 Man of Peace Award by the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates for his humanitarian work is now actively upholding his peace via Islam through a voice call music. Cos music is universal. It touches all. I aspire to be that.
After his Hijrah he started an Islamic school in the heart of London (a metropolitan urban city with diverse culture, race and religion) and I was fortunate to be part of his first batch of the school. This was back in 1985 when there weren’t many Islamic schools and education on Islam in Europe.
Like a kid longing to see dad after he has gone to work for weeks, I was honestly excited and desperate.
I successfully got in touch with student leader in IIUM when I saw a poster that he will be going there.
I watched and observed him with anxiety. To be honest, I crafted a placard with my sister Nurul Iman Dzulkefly (whom studied the same school) hoping he would sign and make that our memorabilia.
Alhamdulillah, despite his tight schedule and security. We met.
I do fear he may disregard or may not hold a brief conversation. Subhanallah! His manager told him about my presence and my sister Iman. Just before he went into the official vehicle I waved anxiously and he grabbed my palm. Oh wow. Yusuf Islam is touching me. I said to myself. He said Salam first with that British accent. And before we knew it, we were hugging each other. Twice. I was nervous, happy and also relieved.. His eyes shone with sincerity and compassion. He gave a good 3 minute attention to me. I can’t remember what I said and I was not aware of my surroundings. That 3 minutes was a moment I shall record in my mind till the rest of my life.
And… Off he went off with his entourage. I felt loved, motivated and also sad cos I don’t know when can I see him again. Perhaps in Jannah. May Allah unite us all therein InsyaAllah.
The last time I held his hand was 30 years ago. I was just a little boy among the many kids at his school.
Yusuf Islam came into my life again many years later when I discreetly self-study about the chords and apply them in Cat Stevens songs such as the Moonshadow. I bought a non-expensive keyboard to experiment. At that time it was when the majority of Islamist view music as haram.
Of course by understanding the concepts of music, the chords and the beats, I was puzzled as to why something beautiful was made haram. Why something that is socially sensible should be made haram because from how I see it, music is just like mathematics! Or could there be another opinion on this? Later of course I learned about Dr Yusuf Al Qardawi’s opinion on the permissibility of music, Alhamdulillah. This was back in 1995.
I will still upkeep his legacy. It is connecting people that matters. Peace and harmony to coexist in this dunya and akhirah mind like.
May Allah give you health and bless your whole family. I will continue to inspire as I learned it from you. I shall sing and inspire people the beauty of Islam even though some asked me to go back to legal as my next plan.
Finally, thank you to my parents who gave me the best education plan. But I know too, its because of the peace and love in their hearts to Allah. May Allah reward both of you with the highest paradise. Ameen.
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